Narrowing it down...

Spanky

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Hi all,

First of all, this is a great forum. I've learned a lot just by reading the sticky threads.

Well, after much research, I've (somewhat) narrowed down which art I'm going to start studying. The main factors being my goals and available dojos in my area.

I was hoping some of you can give me that final push in the right direction.

My training goals are: (in rank order)

1. Getting in shape - a great cardiovascular exercise to keep the ticker beating strong. Losing 20 lbs wouldn't hurt either.

2. Stress relief

3. Increased energy - getting tired in the middle of the day stinks.

4. Self defense

Now, I'm scheduled to visit a kung-fu school and a TKD school. The kung fu school has great hours, the TKD has decent hours. Both are in relatively convenient locations. I live in Chicago's far west suburbs, so I have some options as far as styles go. There seems to be a lot of TKD schools around.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

MJS

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Hi all,

First of all, this is a great forum. I've learned a lot just by reading the sticky threads.

Well, after much research, I've (somewhat) narrowed down which art I'm going to start studying. The main factors being my goals and available dojos in my area.

I was hoping some of you can give me that final push in the right direction.

My training goals are: (in rank order)

1. Getting in shape - a great cardiovascular exercise to keep the ticker beating strong. Losing 20 lbs wouldn't hurt either.

2. Stress relief

3. Increased energy - getting tired in the middle of the day stinks.

4. Self defense

Now, I'm scheduled to visit a kung-fu school and a TKD school. The kung fu school has great hours, the TKD has decent hours. Both are in relatively convenient locations. I live in Chicago's far west suburbs, so I have some options as far as styles go. There seems to be a lot of TKD schools around.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Welcome to the forum. :)

As for your questions...IMO, any art has the potential to give you what you're looking for. As far as the schools you listed go...are those your only 2 options or were you planning on looking at other things too?

I'd go visit both, watch a few classes, see if you could join in on a trial class, talk to the students, the teacher, get as much info as you can on each, and then decide which school best suits your needs.

Mike
 

Hawke

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Hey Spanky,

I believe that there are a few American Kenpo schools out there in Chicago.

Definitely talk to the instructors in your local area.

Do you have any friends/family that might want to join you in training? The journey is personal, but it's nice having a buddy with you.

Since you read the "stickies" you know the importance of a good instructor and the possibility of a free first (sometimes a second) free class.

Not all schools (even in the same style) are the same. So visit the local schools and talk with the instructor and students. Your comparison analysis may be limited, but the more you visit the better idea you will have to make the analysis. After a few months you will have an even better idea. After a few years your eyes will see things in a different light.

When you watch the fighting in the movies do you notice a difference in the movements? Fights for the camera are usually exaggerated and made bigger for the camera, but you get an idea of the movements.

If you get a chance watch....

The Perfect Weapon
(Ed Parker's American Kenpo)

The Hunted (Sayoc Kali)

Bourne Identity series (Filipino Martial Art, staying out of the politics)

These are fun action flicks to watch for the action. Real life is way different than the silver screen. When you start your conditioning you're going to discover muscles you never knew existed. (evil grin).

MA is a personal journey. The guy/gal next to you may be able to perform better, but you should only compare yourself to yourself. How you train will be up to you. You get to choose punching air or punching a bag or punching a person (with or without gear).

How much do you want to train for....

Conditioning?

Self Defense?

Reality Based?

Sport?

Once you start your training how will you stay motivated? From your introduction (Meet & Greet) I will guess that the martial art will be a lifestyle and not just a fashion statement. I wish you the best of luck on your journey.
 
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blindsage

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Spanky, there are many styles of kung fu, which style is the school you are checking into?
 
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Spanky

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Spanky, there are many styles of kung fu, which style is the school you are checking into?


Blindsage,

The Kung Fu style is Shaolin at that particular school. I'm actually meeting with one of the instructors tomorrow.
 
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Spanky

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MJS,

I'm not ruling out any other style(s). So far, Kung Fu & TKD are the two that have the most schools in my area and class availability. Now it's just a matter visiting schools and talking to instructors.

As of now, I am leaning towards Shaolin Kung Fu, due to the shear variety of skills and forms involved.
 

blindsage

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Blindsage,

The Kung Fu style is Shaolin at that particular school. I'm actually meeting with one of the instructors tomorrow.
IME, you need to be careful with Shaolin. It can mean a number of different things, some good some bad. There are a lot of schools that use the term mostly as marketing. There are a couple of chain schools that get a lot of criticism as being somewhat cultish and not so great for their students.

There are legitimate, quality schools out there that teach some form of Shaolin kung fu, just be very discerning in what you see. If it's a looot of acrobatics or they make claims to seemingly super-human abilities. You're probably better off walking away.
 

Carol

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Hey Spanky, welcome to MT :)

You've already made an excellent start by defining goals for yourself. In my own opinion, I wouldn't be too concerned about the particular style, unless you already have something in mind that you are reasonably sure you'll like (or dislike). It sounds to me as if you are rather open.

Look at the schedules for the school. The school where you can train 8 hours a week is going to get you in to a lot better shape than the school where you can train 6 hours a week.

Ask the teachers where they trained, who they trained under, and what rank they earned under whom. Even if you don't know these people...the important aspect is to establish some sort of chain-of-custody for the knowledge being passed on.

Finally, when you meet the instructors, tell them what your specific goals are, and ask them how prior students have met their goals. This will assure that you are not getting lip service for your goals, but you'll also understand more about what you need to do to get there.

Good luck with your training and I hope you keep posting about your journey :asian:
 

OnlyAnEgg

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Fine replies, already :) You see the quality of the members here.

I can only add my welcome.
 
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Spanky

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IME, you need to be careful with Shaolin. It can mean a number of different things, some good some bad. There are a lot of schools that use the term mostly as marketing. There are a couple of chain schools that get a lot of criticism as being somewhat cultish and not so great for their students.

There are legitimate, quality schools out there that teach some form of Shaolin kung fu, just be very discerning in what you see. If it's a looot of acrobatics or they make claims to seemingly super-human abilities. You're probably better off walking away.

Hmm....Interesting. The place I visited today seemed ok, but it's hard to tell from one brief visit. As it turns out, I have at least 3 more places to visit next week. Thanks for the heads-up!
 

geezer

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Hmm....Interesting. The place I visited today seemed ok, but it's hard to tell from one brief visit. As it turns out, I have at least 3 more places to visit next week. Thanks for the heads-up!

Good for you. You are doing your research, visiting several schools, meeting with instructors and hopefully watching some classes. When you find a place that looks like it suits you, I would advise making a personal commitment to train hard, at least three times a week for six months before you pass judgement one way or the other... unless you see something really negative going on. I say this because there are so many flaky, wannabe students who appear really super-enthusiastic, come a few times, and then just disappear. There's no way you can really learn anything if you don't commit to train for a good stretch of time. Some instructors won't even really put much effort into training a student until he's been around awhile and shown that he is serious.

BTW I've worked with guys that were so busy that they could barely manage one class a week for long stretches, but they were always there, and on time. And they called first if they had to miss class. I'd rather train someone like that than a flake who wants to come to class five times a week but disappears after a couple of weeks!
 
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Spanky

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Thank you all for your responses. I found a dojo! (kung fu)

I've been to two classes so far and am already hooked. The instructors are great. From what I can tell, they are genuinely interested with the students' progress, but don't push too hard.

My first class was the most intense workout I've had in my life. I actually got light headed at one point and had to sit-out for a few minutes. I've never gotten a more intense cardiovascular workout like that before, even from playing hockey.

Again, thank you all. I can't wait until my next class!
 
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